Corbyn gets pumped-up about housing this week while Madeleine Moon hides in a darkened room. Here’s Nathan Jones with all the news that’s fit to print.
Jeremy Corbyn managed to channel some of his righteous fury into some slightly better-formulated questions this week, but in doing so reinforced Labour’s position in the public imagination as the party of welfare by going on housing policy. The temptation for regular viewers of PMQs is to give the underdog a win every once in a while, but I’m afraid I’m sticking to my guns for now – Corbyn fluffs his lines and Cameron wins by default, despite failing to answer the questions.
Issue of the week
The focus was on housing this week, as Corbyn highlighted figures from Shelter showing that a third of privately-rented homes are in ‘unacceptable’ condition. He sought to leverage this research to challenge the Government’s planned cuts to housing benefit for supported homes, and the Prime Minister had little of substance to say in response. Cameron argued that planned cuts in social rents will offset benefit cuts, but he found it difficult to parry Corbyn’s accusation that this Government is doing very little to build new social housing to replace the stock being sold off.
However, although Corbyn may find public support for opposition to cuts in supported housing benefit, he overlooks the lessons of the last election if he thinks this will put him in power. His predecessor Mr Miliband found the public sympathetic to policies supporting the least well-off, but failed to understand that they felt still more passionately about the need to cut benefits. Corbyn risks making the same mistake in cementing Labour’s reputation as the party of welfare.
Joke of the week
Labour’s ongoing travails continue to provide plentiful ammunition for the Tories, and the PM clearly thought the Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry’s recent comments on Trident were a joke. The worst of it though, was a tweet posted by Labour MP Madeleine Moon following Thornberry’s address to the PLP, which the PM quoted in full: “Oh dear oh dear omg oh dear oh dear need to go rest in a darkened room“.
Robert Jenrick, perhaps best known as the winner of the Newark 2014 by-election amongst UKIP-mania, made a statesmanlike contribution honouring Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who escaped IS and addressed MPs yesterday. As Nadia looked on from the gallery, Jenrick called for the PM to reaffirm his condemnation of the so-called Islamic State.
There wasn’t much in the way of corporate mentions this week, although Amanda Milling did lament the closure of Rugeley power plant in her Cannock Chase constituency.
It’s got to be the Tories hasn’t it?
Corbyn passionate on issues in the housing sector, but positions Labour once again as the party of welfare #pmqs